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Whether at home or in the workplace, cleaning is rarely anyone’s favourite activity. Unfortunately, to make matters even worse, many of us have been making the task even harder for ourselves by using the wrong type of cleaning products for the job – effectively wasting time, energy, and increasing the amount of unnecessary chemical pollution created.
It’s time to set everyone straight by calling out some common myths about cleaning products:
- MYTH: Bleach is always the best cleaner.
BUSTED: Tests comparing bleach’s effectiveness at killing mould against other supermarket cleaning products showed that bleach scored the lowest figure.
- MYTH: White clothing should be soaked in a mixture of hot water and bleach.
BUSTED: Whatever you do, don’t do this as it will turn your clothes a yellow colour!
- MYTH: Steam cleaning carpets encourages mould to grow.
BUSTED: To the contrary, having the carpets in your home or office cleaned on a quarterly basis removes germs, bacteria, and the dust mites which love to live in your carpets, helping to make your environment healthier and reduce reactions in allergy sufferers.
- MYTH: Steam cleaning carpets will cause them to shrink.
BUSTED: Once upon a time, but not anymore. Although this is the main reason people avoid getting new carpet cleaned, what they don’t realise is that most modern carpets are made from synthetic fibres, meaning the chance of shrinkage is a bare minimum.
- MYTH: Vinegar is perfect for every surface.
BUSTED: Because vinegar does not actually kill any germs, it is better to use a proper disinfectant on areas where germs live: toilets, door handles, kitchen benches, floors, and other similar areas. You should also avoid using vinegar on wooden surfaces as it can damage the wood.
- MYTH: Extra washing powder in the machine = cleaner clothes.
BUSTED: All extra washing powder will do is leave clothes with a soapy residue, which allows dirt to stick to the surface better. On a related note, if you ever use a DIY steam cleaner on your carpet, always use the advised amount of cleaning solution for this reason.
- MYTH: Newspaper is the best paper for cleaning windows.
BUSTED: Newspaper can leave streaky ink marks on your windows. A better alternative is disposable coffee machine filters which are a great way to get your windows sparkling clean. Coffee filters are also a better option than paper towel, as they hold their form a lot better and don’t turn to mush.
- MYTH: Green cleaning products kill germs just as well as chemical cleaners.
BUSTED: Although it is recommended that people use plant-derived products as much as possible, these cleaning agents don’t always remove serious germs like the flu virus or gastroenteritis. Always keep a heavy duty cleaning product on hand for when the nasty bugs come to visit.
- MYTH: Natural products are great for cleaning everything.
BUSTED: As per the last myth, they’re not so good where dangerous germs may be involved. That said, they are excellent for a lot of other situations. Natural products are great for cleaning some things. Lemons are good for removing stains on metal and glass, while toothpaste can be used to remove tarnish and polish the silverware. A solution of baking soda and vinegar can be used to clean drains, while walnuts can be used to remove scratches from wooden surfaces.
- MYTH: You don’t need hot water to kill germs.
BUSTED: Sometimes clothes and linens need to be washed in hot water to kill germs, especially if someone in the house has been sick. Using the clothes dryer is another way this can be done also, but always check manufacturers label beforehand.
- MYTH: It’s a good idea to put Coffee beans in your garbage disposal.
BUSTED: Even though it may smell great, coffee beans will seriously damage the blades in your disposal unit. Try using lemons instead.
- MYTH: The more you polish furniture, the better.
BUSTED: You shouldn’t use furniture polish every time you clean. Most furniture polishes are only needed every few months (also check directions before use), as polish can be maintained with a simple micro-fibre cloth.